Proposed Rule Could Cost Libraries

Missouri’s Secretary of State has proposed a new administrative rule that would require libraries to have additional, state certified, written policies for minors or risk losing state funds.

The Joplin Public Library has always, and will continue to be, an advocate for our community’s children. We value parental oversight and encourage parents and guardians to be involved in everything their children read, see, and hear.

Our collection development policy delegates the selection of Library materials to the Collection Development Librarian and, under their direction, to those members of the staff who are qualified by their education, training, and experience. This includes Library materials for minors, and the decision of which materials are age-appropriate.

Our collection policy is approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees, which allows these decisions to be a local matter, rather than overseen by the state. We remain sensitive to any amount of censorship, or restriction on people’s freedom to read. Whether a material is age-appropriate for an individual child is up to the discretion of their parent or guardian, not the state of Missouri. We encourage users of the Library to study the rule for themselves, and encourage them to share their views with elected officials. A 30-day window for public input opened November 15. You can submit comments in the following ways:

By email to Type the proposed rule number, 15 CSR 30-200.015, in the subject field.

By mail to Missouri Secretary of State, P.O. Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

This Secretary of State has always been very supportive of libraries in the state of Missouri. We are hoping that public comments will bring reconsideration of this rule because of the potential widespread ramifications for libraries and the families they serve.

JPL in November

It’s the next to last month of the year, but JPL isn’t slowing down yet!  We have a full calendar of programming, we’re celebrating the return of DINOvember, and we’re launching a recognition of International Games Month with several ways to play throughout the month!.

First up, the Dinosaurs are on the loose at the Library!  This popular program is inspired by Refe and Susan Tuma’s What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night.  It’s a month-long imagination invasion, and it’s debatable if our staff or patrons love this program more!  Be watching our social media to keep up with the dinosaur’s antics, or come in and see their latest moves!

The very first thing the dinosaurs did was get into the Library’s stash of games because even they got the memo that November is International Games Month!

This initiative’s goal is to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.  We’ll have game themed activities this month (Bingo, Chess Club, Teen Game Day), and we’d love for you to join us November 17 at 5:00 pm for our all ages game night!

JPL Recipe Exchange

Joplin Public Library is excited to announce a new offering in Adult Programming coming in November- JPL Recipe Exchange! Perfect for those that like to cook, a recipe exchange is an opportunity to share a recipe of your own and pick up new ones to try. 

Curious how it works?  We ask that attendees bring a typed or handwritten copy of a recipe (or recipes) that you enjoy; any kind of recipe is welcome! If possible, bring 2 or 3 copies of your recipe so more than one interested person can take your recipe home with them. Have a recipe that’s a go-to for you, or is raved about by anyone that eats it? Now’s your time to show that recipe off and pass it along! Then, you can peruse the variety of recipes provided by others to find something to take home with you–just in time for the holidays, too! This will also be a fantastic time to chat with fellow food enthusiasts about their recipe, techniques, equipment, ingredients…the possibilities are endless! 

The Library will have some recipe cards on hand if you are a cook that likes writing your recipes down, or if you just need some extra recipe cards at home. This event will take place Tuesday, November 15th from 6pm-7pm in our Community Room.

Again, this is an Adult Programming event. Please feel free to contact Adult Programming Coordinator Sarah Turner-Hill with any questions (417-623-7953).

MLA Conference 2022

In an effort to better serve our patrons, Library staff are continually learning and growing in their fields. Recently, several Joplin Public Library staff attended the Missouri Library Association Conference, held in Springfield, MO. The focus of this year’s conference was reconnection with a goal of envisioning what is next for libraries, engaging staff, and empowering patrons.

Each staff member was able to choose which lectures to attend with choices like Performers Showcase, Library Outreach 101, Readers Advisory, and more! JPL’s Library Director, Jeana Gockley, was a featured presenter. Her talk, “From the Ground Up: Creating a Friends of the Library”, was well attended.

Another highlight from the conference was that Christina Matekel-Gibson, JPL’s Children’s Librarian, was awarded the Patt Behler Call-to-Conference Award. The Patt Behler Call-to-Conference Award is sponsored by the Youth Services Community of Interest (YSCI) and is offered to introduce working librarians to the activities and programs of Missouri Library Association (MLA) and YSCI and to encourage involvement and on-going participation in the professional activities of those organizations.

In speaking about the conference, Matekel-Gibson said, “I enjoyed being able to connect with librarians from all over the state to share ideas and celebrate our mutual love for libraries and literacy. The opening keynote with Marlene Chism about moving from conflict to connection was especially impactful!”

Each staff member is excited to put into practice what they have learned, and are already looking forward to next year’s conference!


New Penworthy STEAM Kits Announced

Joplin Public Library has added twelve STEAM and phonics kits to their collection, thanks to a Missouri State Library-funded grant. These kits are geared toward children and teens, and library cardholders can check out one kit at a time for three weeks.

Four kits will be housed in the Teen Department and can be checked out at the Teen Desk or Reference Desk, and eight will be housed in the Children’s Department and can be checked out at the Children’s Desk.

The STEAM-to-GO kits contain high and low-tech toys and games from Penworthy books that are designed to foster hands-on learning. Available STEAM kits include: Money, Math, and Economics; Letters and Numbers; Yoga for Mindfulness; Tot Game Night; Green Energy; Building and Design; Explore the Outdoors; and Family Game Night. Available phonics kits include: Ready, Set, Kindergarten; Biscuit Phonics; Pete the Cat Loves Preschool; and Little Critters Phonics.

STEAM-based learning is foundational in helping children and teens develop a variety of skills, including problem-solving, collaborative learning and critical thinking through hands-on learning. Though the Library currently offers select STEAM kits, this grant allows the Children’s and Teen departments to meet the needs of more families in more diverse ways.

This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

For information on these kits or to reserve one, visit the Library’s catalog at and search “STEAM to go,” or contact the Children’s or Teen Departments (417-623-7953).

Chat with Alyssa about Chat & Craft

What is Chat & Craft?

Chat & Craft is a monthly program offered by the JPL where crafters of all types are invited to come together over their mutual love of handcrafts. Many of the attendees have been coming since the program started in 2006. But they are very welcoming to new faces!

What do people do?

People bring in all kinds of things; there’s lots of crochet, cross stitch, knitting, needle felting, floral wreaths, we even have painters at times. If they sell the supplies at the craft store, chances are we’ve seen it at Chat & Craft.

Are you assigning crafts?

Generally, it’s bring your own project. We do offer group projects and classes at times. Back in June, I brought in a crochet pattern for a stuffed jellyfish – to tie in with summer reading – and people really seemed to like it. Next month, I will be bringing in supplies for everyone to make a small punch needle piece.

What changes have you made since you took over?

I took over the program early this year when the previous leader retired. I was grateful to have her foundation to build on. Since then we’ve done a re-brand, to make Chat & Craft more cohesive with the rest of our adult programming and I have been able to start providing supplies for classes, thanks to grant funding from the Lemons Charitable Trust.

When do you meet?

We get together on the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8pm in the library’s community room. Our next meeting will be September 6th, and we are learning punch needle embroidery.

Anything to say to those who might be interested?

I would say just give it a try! We really have a lot of fun, and there’s no pressure to be an especially good crafter – or even much of a chatter. Also, if you’re having trouble learning a new craft, someone here has probably tried it. Bring it in and we can get you on the right path.


Get to Know: JPL’s Programming Librarians

Beth, Derek, & Christina

Beth, Derek, and Christina

Our Library has three Programming Librarians, Christina Matakel-Gibson (Childrens), Beth Snow (Teens) and Derek Moser (Adults).  In these positions, they are responsible for  planning and executing various programs, services, and outreach for our community.  To get to know them and their positions better, we sat down for an interview.

What is something about the Library people don’t know?

Christina: The Library is a Family Place Library, a national network of libraries focused on the parent or caregiver’s role in their child’s development, specifically their early literacy development, ages 0-5.  As a part of our connection to Family Place Libraries, we place a lot of emphasis on programs for that age group and on family engagement and prioritizing the parent or caregiver as the child’s most important teacher. 

Derek: Most of the databases we offer here at the Library, that you can come in and make use of, you can also use at home, using your library card.  We have a lot of different resources, that either through creating a profile, or using your card and your pin, you can access. 

Beth: Most people I meet think that Teen Services is mainly about connecting middle school and high school students with books or resources and offering recreational activities or study space.  It is–and it’s so much more!  The Teen Department offers a safe space, free of judgment for teens to grow, to explore, to deal, to connect, or to just “be”.  Building relationships is the foundation, the bulk of what happens here.  Actively listening to, chatting with, meeting teens on their own terms is so much of what we do and usually happens in a low-key fashion.  Teens want to be seen and heard, and we provide them opportunities.  Teen Services can be as incredible, beautiful, heart-breaking, messy, and glorious as adolescence itself!

As programming librarians, what’s your favorite program?

Derek: Storytime, that’s my favorite, and Book Swap! I love how both programs provide an interactive component, which really allows for reading to become active, versus merely passive. It’s something we can share as a community. 

Christina: Yes, Storytime! It’s a great opportunity to connect to families, and for families to connect with each other, it’s a great opportunity to model early literacy practices, and it’s also just really fun.

Beth: Anime/Manga Club is also so much fun!  It’s a monthly gathering of teens who are fans of Japanese animated cartoons and comics.  We watch a few anime episodes, draw, chat about favorite titles, and offer an additional craft or activity–also snacks.  Anime and manga fans are very passionate about their interests, so there’s often lively debate.  It’s a great time to hang out and socialize!  We’ve been on a brief hiatus and will be gearing up again during summer reading.


Did you always want to be a librarian?

Derek: I wanted to be a garbage man. I saw this episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where some garbage men met the turtles in a sewer, and I knew, right there in that moment, exactly what I was destined for.

Christina: I did always want to be a librarian, or a famous author.  I used to play library and checked out books to my stuffed animals.

Do you prefer print Books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Beth: Until several years ago, it was print all the way.  Then I had some root canals and discovered the awesome power of the audiobook to drown out the dentist’s drill.  I find graphic novels and comics are great to read as ebooks using the Libby app or Comics Plus, a new electronic resource we offer.  Although there’s nothing like holding and turning pages of a print book, these ebook services can show graphic novels in a full, two-page spread without a gutter (the crease in the middle where the pages are attached to the book’s spine).  I enjoy being able to see the art flat on the screen, uninterrupted, even though 95% of the time the art and text in print isn’t compromised.  

Christina: I prefer print books, but I agree with Beth.   


What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Christina: Putting on a fun and successful summer reading program (coming May 31st!)

Beth: Yes, summer reading!

Curiosity Kits Launched

At Joplin Public Library, we strive to encourage learning through fun. To help meet that goal, we are thrilled to announce new STEM kits for our youngest patrons and their families! These STEM kits, also known as Curiosity Kits, include activities designed to explore various sciences through hands-on learning!

Discover electronics and circuit building with Snap Circuits:

Coding and robots with Ozobot:

Electronics and inventions with Makey Makeys:

Curiosity Kits can be checked out for three weeks. Only one kit per card is permitted. Available kits include: two Snap Circuits, two Ozobots, and three Makey Makeys. The suggested age range for Curiosity Kits is 7-12 years old. The Makey Makey requires both an internet connection and a computer or tablet. Search for available kits in our catalog or put one on hold today!

Living Well Visits JPL!

The Joplin Public Library was excited to host Shelby Neely with Living Well LIVE from the Library.  It’s always fun when we’re featured on the show, and we appreciate the opportunity to share all we offer with their viewers!  If you didn’t get the chance to tune in, check out our segments below, with information on the Makerspace, March Madness, Curiosity Kits and Play Space!

Reading for Change: Books by Black Authors

All of these titles can be found via the JPL catalog

Picture Books

M is for Melanin

Concepts ABC Rose

That is my dream! : A picture book of Langston Hughes’s “Dream variation”

People Diversity Hughes

What’s the Difference?: Being Different is Amazing

    People Diversity Richards


    People Mom Mora

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

    Self Self Esteem Barnes

Just Like Me

Self Self Esteem Brantley-Newton

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration

    Self Self Esteem Doyon

I am Enough

Self Self Esteem Byers


    Self Self Esteem Nyong’o

Hey Black Child

    Self Self Esteem Perkins

You Matter

    Self Self Esteem Robinson

Freedom Soup

    Stories Food Charles

The Undefeated

Stories History Alexander

Let the Children March

    Stories History Clark-Robinson

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

    Stories History Hubbard

Before She Was Harriet

Stories History Ransome

Easy Fiction and Easy Nonfiction

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel

    Easy Fic Grimes Nikki

Jada Jones series

    Easy Fic Lyons Kelly Starling

The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane

    Easy Fic Smith Nikki Shannon

Let’s Talk About Race

    Easy Nonfic 305.8 L56L c. 1

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

    Easy Nonfic 323.11 Sh4c

Trombone Shorty

    Easy Nonfic 788.9 An2t

The Stone Thrower

    Easy Nonfic 796.332 Ea5r

Juvenile Fiction and Juvenile Nonfiction

The Crossover

    J Fiction Alexander Kwame


    J Fiction Draper Sharon

The Parker Inheritance

    J Fiction Johnson Varian

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

    J Fiction Mbalia Kwame

Ghost Boys

    J Fiction Rhodes Jewell Parker

Betty Before X

    J Fiction Shabazz Ilyasah

Piecing Me Together & Ways to Make Sunshine

    J Fiction Watson Renee

Genesis Begins Again

    J Fiction Williams Alicia

Brown Girl Dreaming

    J Fiction Woodson Jacqueline

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

    J Fiction Zoboi Ibi

New Kid

    J Nonfic 741.5 C84n

We are the Ship: the story of Negro League Baseball

    J Nonfic 796.357 N33w

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

    J Nonfic 808.1 AL2o

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

    J Nonfic 817 H11w

The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives

    J Nonfic 973.0496 G82w

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History 

    J Nonfic 973.0496 H24L

Teen Fiction

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

     Teen Coles Jay

Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

     Teen Jackson Tiffany

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

     Teen Magoon Kekla

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

     Teen Reynolds Jason

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

     Teen Stone Nic

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

     Teen Thomas Angie

If You Come Softly and Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson

     Teen Woodson Jacqueline

Teen Non-Fiction

Teen Graphic Novels

March, Books 1-3 by John Lewis

      Teengn Lewis John March

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

      Teengn Medina Tony I Am


The Vanishing Half

    Fiction Bennett Brit

The Water Dancer

    Fiction Coates Ta-Nehisi


    Fiction Yaa Gyasi

The Broken Earth series

Fiction Jemisin N.K.

Such a Fun Age

    Fiction Reid Kiley

Real Life

    Fiction Taylor Brandon

Sing, Unburied, Sing

    Fiction Ward Jesmyn

The Nickel Boys

Fiction Whitehead Colin

Red at the Bone

    Fiction Woodson Jacqueline


Bad Feminist

    305.42 G25 2014

How to be an Antiracist

    305.8 K34h 2019

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

305.8 K34s 2016

Heavy: An American Memoir

    305.896 L45h 2018

How We Fight For Our Lives

    811 J71h 2019

The Yellow House

    921 B79y 2019